WBEZ | Rahm Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/tags/rahm-emanuel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Analyzing Politics and Aftermath of the Laquan McDonald Video http://www.wbez.org/news/analyzing-politics-and-aftermath-laquan-mcdonald-video-113968 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rahm_mccarthy_mcdonald_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Over a 24-hour span this week, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-officer-charged-murder-killing-black-teen-113933">charged with first-degree murder</a> and taken off the Chicago Police Department&rsquo;s payroll, and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy recommended <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-chicago-police-board-fire-dante-servin-113909">Detective Dante Servin be fired</a>.</p><p>This flurry of activity came more than a year after Van Dyke shot and killed Laquan McDonald, more than three years after Servin shot and killed Rekia Boyd, and right before the court-ordered release of dashcam footage showing McDonald&rsquo;s death.</p><p>In the days since there have been nightly protests, and calls for firing McCarthy and State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez. And officer Van Dyke&rsquo;s attorney has said this is a case that needs to be tried in a courtroom, not on the streets or in the media.</p><p>To help understand what that trial could look like, we spoke with longtime Chicago attorney James Montgomery, Sr., who explained the potential defense Van Dyke could use.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/234733272&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>We also spoke with political consultant Delmarie Cobb about the lead up to the video&rsquo;s release, and what was going on behind the scenes politically.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/234979568&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 12:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/analyzing-politics-and-aftermath-laquan-mcdonald-video-113968 Why Chicago Didn't Riot After Laquan McDonald Video Release http://www.wbez.org/news/why-chicago-didnt-riot-after-laquan-mcdonald-video-release-113955 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_610478196876_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the moments before the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-officer-charged-murder-killing-black-teen-113933">city released the video</a> showing Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting 17-year old Laquan McDonald, Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged residents to stay calm.</p><p>&ldquo;It is fine to be passionate but it is essential that it remain peaceful. We have a collective responsibility in the city of Chicago to ensure that this time of healing happens,&rdquo; Emanuel said at a press conference.</p><p>Given the fever pitch nationally about police brutality and previous rioting in Ferguson and Baltimore, Chicago officials&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-24/chicago-braces-black-lives-matter-protests-113924">braced</a> for an uprising in response to the video. They held <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-meeting-ministers-discuss-police-shooting-video-113906">closed-door meetings</a> on how to handle protesters.</p><p>Young black activists did take to the streets Tuesday night &mdash; to honor McDonald and protest police brutality. But the march downtown didn&rsquo;t result in property damage or anything resembling a riot.</p><p>As the Associated Press <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/5-arrested-during-largely-peaceful-protests-following-release-police-shooting-video-113934">reported</a>, the protests that began Tuesday evening were largely peaceful.</p><blockquote><p>Malcolm London, 22, was among five people who were arrested on charges that included weapons possession and resisting arrest.</p><p>He was charged with hitting an officer. On Wednesday, Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas dismissed the charge said the state&#39;s attorney&#39;s office recommended that the charge be dropped. and told London he was free to go.</p><p>London, wearing a T-shirt with the phrase &quot;Unapologetically black&quot; on it, walked outside the courthouse to loud cheers.</p><p>A crowd of supporters chanted, &quot;We&#39;re going to be all right&quot; and &quot;Set our people free.&quot;</p><p>Prosecutors did not explain why their office recommended dropping the charge.</p></blockquote><p>Veronica Morris-Moore participated in the protests Tuesday night. She didn&rsquo;t expect chaos, and says the reason others did is because black youth are stereotyped as violent.</p><p>&ldquo;I think people expected Chicago to burst in flames because the dominate narrative out there is that black people are reckless and we don&rsquo;t care about our communities or neighborhoods,&rdquo; Morris-Moore said.</p><p>She&rsquo;s part of a coalition that includes groups such as Fearless Leading by the Youth, We Charge Genocide and Assata&rsquo;s Daughters &mdash; just to name a few.</p><p>&ldquo;At the end of the day what our movement is doing is exposing these contradictions, exposing these stereotypes, exposing this anti-black culture,&rdquo; Morris-Moore said.</p><p>University of Chicago political scientist Cathy Cohen agrees that a spontaneous riot shouldn&rsquo;t have been the default expectation.</p><p>&ldquo;There is a way in which these young activists have a very deep understanding of who they need to target and where those targets are situated,&rdquo; Cohen said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re not going to burn down black communities.&rdquo;</p><p>No matter how chilling, the dashcam video&rsquo;s content was no surprise. And activism among these young people didn&rsquo;t start with McDonald&rsquo;s death.</p><p>&ldquo;They understand that this is an issue not about one police officer but the system of policing and accountability and power,&rdquo; Cohen said.</p><p>The groups have protested several police shootings and pushed for the firing of Dante Servin, the officer who killed Rekia Boyd. Just this week, Chicago&rsquo;s top cop <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-chicago-police-board-fire-dante-servin-113909">recommended Servin be fired</a>.</p><p>Activists also lobbied for an expansive trauma center on the South Side, which is partly coming to fruition.</p><p>And Chicago is the only city in the country giving reparations to police torture victims &mdash; a direct result of years of activism.</p><p>From Fred Hampton in the 1960s, to the Black Radical Congress of the 1990s, to waves of progressive and feminist organizations, black activism in Chicago has a strong legacy.</p><p>The Black Youth Project&rsquo;s Charlene Carruthers says activists will continue that legacy by demanding justice and investment in black communities.</p><p>&ldquo;What I expect is for more people to continue to join the ongoing organizing that&rsquo;s been happening in the city of Chicago for the past several years that&rsquo;s led by young black organizers,&rdquo; Carruthers said.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. nmoore@wbez.org. Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343">Google+</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 17:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-chicago-didnt-riot-after-laquan-mcdonald-video-release-113955 Officer Who Killed Laquan McDonald Lacked Crisis Training http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-who-killed-laquan-mcdonald-lacked-crisis-training-113907 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Chicago Police_Flickr_Isador Ruyter Harcourt_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The officer who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald never received the Chicago Police Department&rsquo;s Crisis Intervention Team training, known as CIT. CIT training prepares officers to respond to mental health crisis calls, including those where a person is behaving erratically because of drug use.</p><p>Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, shot McDonald 16 times. He arrived at the scene after other officers had been following the African-American teen as he walked the streets carrying a knife and refusing to follow orders. An autopsy report showed that the a hallucinogenic drug PCP was found in McDonald&#39;s system, according to the Associated Press. Van Dyke&rsquo;s attorney says the officer feared for his life. A video of that shooting is expected to be released by Wednesday this week.&nbsp;</p><p>CIT trained officers learn alternatives to using force; the training is voluntary. Sgt. Lori Cooper, who runs the Chicago Police Department&#39;s CIT program, confirmed that Van Dyke had not received the training.&nbsp; A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department would not comment.</p><p>University of Illinois Chicago researcher Amy Watson studies CIT. She says the training &ldquo;could be helpful for dealing with someone who is agitated and not following commands, regardless of the reason for the agitation.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We do know that sometimes people who are in crisis can escalate and can act in a way that looks impulsive. But we know if officers have additional training they may respond with a different tool,&rdquo; said National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago&rsquo;s Executive Director Alexa James.&nbsp;The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago, collaborates with CPD to run the trainings.</p><p>Under 20 percent of Chicago police officers have gone through the training. State funding for Crisis Intervention Training in Chicago has been on hold since the start of the budget impasse. Since then the number officers receiving training has drastically dropped.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien and Patrick Smith contributed to this report.</em></p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ you can follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 17:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-who-killed-laquan-mcdonald-lacked-crisis-training-113907 Mayor Emanuel's press team defends eavesdropping on reporters’ conversations with aldermen http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-emanuels-press-team-defends-eavesdropping-reporters%E2%80%99-conversations-aldermen-113714 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 9.23.23 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s press office is defending its use of eavesdropping on reporters&rsquo; conversations with aldermen.</p><p dir="ltr">Many City Hall reporters have experienced it lately: Staffers will pop up behind or next to reporters while they&rsquo;re conducting interviews with aldermen outside the City Council chambers. The staffers will lean in and type furiously on their smartphones as the interview continues.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve experienced it myself. I caught two of these interactions on tape: Once when I was interviewing freshman Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24), and then a week later, during an interview with Ald. Scott Waguespack (32).</p><p dir="ltr">Since a story on eavesdropping is much better heard, not read, we encourage you to hit play above.</p><p>Some aldermen and city reporters are &ldquo;irritated&rdquo; with this behavior. Waguespack, who says he&rsquo;s constantly the target of eavesdropping, calls the practice a &ldquo;waste of time, waste of resources and I really wish they would quit it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">These incidents have begun to get some public attention: <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-moutza-kass-met-1104-20151103-column.html">A <em>Chicago Tribune</em> columnist</a> wrote about it after a well-known television reporter tweeted a <a href="https://twitter.com/MaryAnnAhernNBC/media">selfie with a staffer</a> who showed up to shadow one of her interviews.</p><p dir="ltr">For their part, the mayor&rsquo;s press office says this tactic is only used to help reporters. Adam Collins, a top spokesman, declined a recorded interview, instead issuing this statement:</p><p>&ldquo;This is a total non-story. The whole purpose of our press team&rsquo;s existence is to make sure reporters have what they need, which is exactly what you have here. There should be nothing surprising about that, so I&rsquo;m not even sure what implication you&rsquo;re trying to draw. The last time I checked mischievous campaign trackers don&#39;t pose for photos with the reporters they work with daily,&rdquo; Collins said.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 21:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-emanuels-press-team-defends-eavesdropping-reporters%E2%80%99-conversations-aldermen-113714 Chicago police trying to recruit more minorities to join its ranks http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-trying-recruit-more-minorities-join-its-ranks-113604 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_1731.JPG" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="Young Chicago police officers stand with Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the 6th ward at a press conference Monday announcing the police department’s latest recruitment effort. Supt. Garry McCarthy said the department has struggled in the past with hiring minorities. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" /></p><p>Calling all future police officers: The Chicago Police Department is taking applications for the first time since 2013.</p><div><p>The last time the department held the police exam, 19,000 people showed up&mdash;but Supt. Garry McCarthy said there was a problem with the pool of applicants. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;At the end of the day, we didn&rsquo;t get the numbers that we wanted as far as minorities are concerned,&rdquo; McCarthy told reporters Monday. &ldquo;And it&#39;s been a dynamic in this department that we&rsquo;ve struggled with for a long time.&rdquo;</p><div>So this year, the police department is launching a campaign to increase minority participation. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who joined McCarthy and other top police brass for the announcement, said the force should better reflect the makeup of Chicago.&nbsp;<p>To meet that end, McCarthy pointed to the diverse group of &ldquo;young, good-looking&rdquo; officers that stood behind him at the podium. CPD will send younger officers out to churches, schools and community events around Chicago to try and convince their peers to join the ranks.&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://chicagopolice.org/takethetest" target="_blank">application </a>deadline is December 16; applicants must be 18 years old by the time of the exam, which will be held in February. Applicants also have to live in Chicago by the time of their employment, have 60 hours of college credit, or 36 months of continuous active duty service with 30 semester hours college credit and they must have a valid State of Illinois driver&rsquo;s license by the time of employment.</p><p>The superintendent said the department will be hiring to keep up with attrition.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></div><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-trying-recruit-more-minorities-join-its-ranks-113604 Governor Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and one dead fish http://www.wbez.org/news/governor-bruce-rauner-mayor-rahm-emanuel-and-one-dead-fish-113582 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rauner-at-paulina-meat-market2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The public battle between two of Illinois&rsquo; most powerful politicians culminated Friday with the use of a familiar political weapon: A dead fish.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner referenced local political lore Friday, as he held up a plastic-wrapped fillet of tuna for reporters and said he would send it to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in jest. &nbsp;</p><p>The fish stunt was Rauner&rsquo;s attempt to add some levity to the tension that&rsquo;s been heating up between he and the mayor, ever since Chicago&rsquo;s City Council approved Emanuel&rsquo;s budget for 2016 and as the State of Illinois is about to enter its fifth month without a budget. The budget includes a property tax increase for city residents and businesses. The historic levy will mostly go toward funding the city&rsquo;s ailing police and firefighters&rsquo; pensions.</p><p>In recent weeks, Emanuel and Rauner have been in private talks over some initiatives the mayor needs the Statehouse to approve. That includes an exemption to that recently-approved property tax increase, for residents whose homes are worth less than $250,000. And Emanuel is still waiting for Rauner to say he&rsquo;ll sign off on a new payment schedule for those financially struggling pension funds.</p><p>Emanuel criticized Rauner for not supporting what the mayor called &ldquo;the economic engine&rdquo; of Illinois, referring to the City of Chicago. In response, a Rauner spokesman said Emanuel needed to &ldquo;get serious&rdquo; about if he&rsquo;ll endorse the governor&rsquo;s policies, or become, a &ldquo;tax-and-spend&rdquo; politician who is already planning to raise more taxes.</p><p>On Friday, the public back-and-forth escalated even further.</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;re 120 days behind budget, $6 billion and counting and not paying bills,&rdquo; Emanuel said, referring to the ongoing state budget impasse. &ldquo;Stop name-calling and just do your job.&rdquo;</p><p>Soon after, Rauner held his own news conference at a Chicago meat market -- and this is where the fish came in. The governor said he would send the cut of tuna to Emanuel, a reference to the <a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2008/11/06/the-five-most-infamous-rahm-emanuel-moments/">infamous story</a> that, years ago, Emanuel once sent a dead fish to a political operative.</p><p>But the humor only lasted so long. While Rauner said he&rsquo;s &ldquo;very fond&rdquo; of Emanuel, he later grew more serious when asked about Chicago&rsquo;s property tax increase.</p><p>&ldquo;Chicago, I believe, has made a fundamental mistake,&rdquo; Rauner said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the reason I&rsquo;m opposed to what the mayor has done. He&rsquo;s put a massive tax hike on the people of Chicago without significant structural reform. I think that&rsquo;s a mistake.&rdquo;</p><p>Rauner also said Emanuel, on principle, wants some of the policies that he&rsquo;s pushing for, like changes to workers compensation.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s some hiding, dodging,&rdquo; Rauner said of Emanuel. &ldquo;We need structural reform.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel and Rauner are old friends and often speak privately. But the public dispute is a sign that the political impasse stretching out in the Statehouse is reaching the City of Chicago.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian and Tony Arnold cover politics for WBEZ. Follow them </em><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian"><em>@laurenchooljian</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold"><em>@tonyjarnold</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 08:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/governor-bruce-rauner-mayor-rahm-emanuel-and-one-dead-fish-113582 Morning Shift: October 29, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/morning-shift-october-29-2015-113554 <p><p>These days, uniformed police officers are the norm for lots of schools. And, by now, we&rsquo;ve all seen the shocking video of the South Carolina school cop who forcibly removed a female student from the classroom after she refused a teacher&rsquo;s order. We talk about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/police-role-school-disciplinary-process-113552">cops in schools</a> &mdash; the role that they play, the limits they should have and whether it&rsquo;s a good idea to have them there in the first place. Plus, a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/book-soul-food-highlights-connection-civil-rights-movement-113550">soul food tour</a> of the south...with a few stops up north. And we hear the details of the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/breaking-down-mayor%E2%80%99s-budget-113551">budget </a>passed by Chicago&#39;s city council Wednesday. And a conversation with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/wbez-25-ira-looks-back-113553">Ira Glass</a> about the evolution of his radio show, This American Life.</p></p> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/morning-shift-october-29-2015-113554 Breaking Down the Mayor’s Budget http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/breaking-down-mayor%E2%80%99s-budget-113551 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rahm budget_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As expected, aldermen <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-city-council-approves-emanuels-challenging-budget-113540">passed Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s proposed 2016 budget</a> yesterday. Chicago property taxes are going up and for the first time, there&rsquo;s going to be a garbage collection fee.</p><p>WBEZ political reporter <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Lauren Chooljian</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/vouchey">Mike Fourcher</a> of the Chicago politics website <a href="https://www.aldertrack.com/">Aldertrack</a> explain more on the budget and what it means moving forward.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/breaking-down-mayor%E2%80%99s-budget-113551 Chicago City Council approves Emanuel's 'challenging' budget http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-city-council-approves-emanuels-challenging-budget-113540 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_395280994494.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen have overwhelmingly approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s financially and politically costly 2016 budget plan.</p><p>While passage was expected, several aldermen had hinted they might buck the mayor and vote against his spending plan. The final vote count of 36 to 14, and other subsequent votes, show that Emanuel convinced most of the city council that a $534 million property tax hike was the only way the city could afford a state-mandated payment into its police and fire pension funds.</p><p>&ldquo;It is not final. We have more work ahead of us, but from 2011 are we closer to the other side of the shore of fixing our finances than before?&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;I can answer affirmatively...we are better.&rdquo;</p><p>Aldermen who spoke at Wednesday&rsquo;s meeting did not hold back on how difficult or challenging it was for them to approve the $7.8 billion dollar budget. Once the votes were tallied, aldermanic staffers tweeted or emailed statements from their bosses, reiterating how difficult this decision was for them.</p><p>New Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41), a former firefighter, said he&rsquo;d feel less pressure escaping a burning building than dealing with the budget process. Napolitano ended up voting against the budget, because he said too many of his constituents, even his neighbors who are police officers and firefighters, felt the tax burden was too great.</p><p>&ldquo;Hundreds of people would come into my office, call me or email me: &lsquo;Anthony, we realize this is our pension, but don&rsquo;t vote for it. This really hurts this neighborhood,&rsquo;&rdquo; he said.</p><p>But Ald. Pat O&rsquo;Connor (40), the mayor&rsquo;s floor leader, said there was no other option.</p><p>&ldquo;We all know the saying: The only two things that are certain is death and taxes,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor said. &ldquo;In this instance for Chicago, it is death or taxes. Because clearly our city will decay and will denigrate and our services will be severely hampered if we do not take the appropriate steps.&rdquo;</p><p>Beyond the property tax hike for police and fire pensions, aldermen also approved a $45 million annual property tax increase for school construction and modernization projections. &nbsp;E-cigarettes will also be taxed, and single family homes and smaller apartment buildings will have to kick in $9.50 a month for garbage pickup.. This was a big issue for many aldermen, including Ald. David Moore (17), who supported the mayor&rsquo;s spending package, but not his revenue plan.</p><p>&ldquo;I cannot in anyway support and go against my residents when they look at me and say don&rsquo;t you go down there and vote for that garbage fee,&rdquo; Moore said.</p><p>Aldermen also approved new rules for cab and ride-sharing companies. Under the newest agreement, cab drivers will have access to financial aid to make the process of getting a chauffeur&#39;s license less expensive, but they didn&rsquo;t win their biggest battle: keeping ride-sharing companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar out of the airport pickup line. Those companies will have to pay an additional $5 surcharge for every pick up or drop off at O&rsquo;Hare, Midway, McCormick Place or Navy Pier, and they&rsquo;ll also have to pay the city a 52 cent fee for every ride. On the cab side, fares will increase 15 percent and the city will also institute a per ride fee of 50 cents.</p><p>A few unknowns still remain in the budget. First, the $543 million property tax increase is based on the state lowering the mandated police and fire pension payments, but Gov. Bruce Rauner hasn&rsquo;t signed off on the bill. Second, the mayor has long promised that homes valued at $250,000 or less would be shielded from the property tax increase, but he needs Springfield for that too.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s office worked with aldermen like Michelle Smith (43) to come up with a potential plan B in the event that dead-locked Springfield doesn&rsquo;t come through. The resolution, which passed today, calls for the implementation of a city-administered rebate program for longtime homeowners.</p><p>By press time, responses from Wall Street were mixed. In a statement, Standard and Poor&rsquo;s officials said their ratings will stay the same, as they still &ldquo;consider the city&#39;s financial problems substantial, particularly because we anticipate that the city&#39;s required pension contributions will continue to increase and place pressure on the city&#39;s budget--one of the primary drivers of our rating.&rdquo; Moody&rsquo;s applauded the council&rsquo;s efforts in raising revenue for the unfunded pension liabilities, but joined S&amp;P in reiterating the point that the city isn&rsquo;t certain Springfield will come through.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Wed, 28 Oct 2015 13:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-city-council-approves-emanuels-challenging-budget-113540 Chicago Aldermen set to take costly vote on Rahm Emanuel's 2016 budget proposal http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-aldermen-set-take-costly-vote-rahm-emanuels-2016-budget-proposal-113529 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cityhall_danoneil_flickr.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago&rsquo;s 50 aldermen are set to vote on the first budget of Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s second term, and it is shaping up to be a memorable one. The proposal - which includes an increase in property taxes and cab fares, and a new garbage collection fee - is set to make Chicago a more expensive place to live.</p><p dir="ltr">The mayor has tried the hard sell, calling on aldermen to &ldquo;muster the political courage&rdquo; to deal with the financial challenges the city faces, like its underfunded police and fire pension funds. He&rsquo;s also set the stakes as an either-or for residents: Either the city raises property taxes, or it will be forced to make cuts to essential city services like recycling, police and fire fighters.</p><p dir="ltr">Here are some key questions and answers about what&rsquo;s at stake during the budget vote Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Will the budget pass?</strong></span></p><p dir="ltr">Many expect the mayor to get the 26 votes he needs to pass the budget, but what the margin will be remains to be seen. &nbsp;Ald. Pat O&rsquo;Connor (40), the mayor&rsquo;s floor leader, has said that aldermen will make last-minute tweaks in order to make themselves more comfortable with voting on the entire package. While there certainly has been a lot of that in the final days, it&rsquo;s still unclear how many aldermen will officially cast a &ldquo;yes&rdquo; vote.</p><p dir="ltr">Reporters from the <em><a href="http://wgnradio.com/2015/10/25/the-sunday-spin-full-show-102815/">Chicago Tribune</a></em> and <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/7/71/1031599/emanuels-property-tax-package-pensions-clears-key-hurdle"><em>Chicago Sun-Time</em>s</a> estimate anywhere between 10 to 20 aldermen will cast &ldquo;no&rdquo; votes. Speculation about a tight margin grew after a test vote in the finance committee ended up much closer than usual (17-10).</p><p dir="ltr">For his part, Emanuel has said publicly that he doesn&rsquo;t care much about predicting or tallying votes. But privately, his staff has been reminding reporters of close budget votes Mayor Richard M. Daley faced during his tenure.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>What&rsquo;s the final word on property taxes?</strong></span></p><p dir="ltr">There are two different property tax proposals going on here. First, the mayor is proposing $543 million increase over the next four years to make required contributions into the police and fire pension funds. All told, that will increase property taxes by about 12 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">The second increase is $45 million for school construction and modernization projects. Details on exactly where this money will go haven&rsquo;t been released, which made many aldermen nervous at first, but the mayor&rsquo;s office agreed to require Chicago Public Schools to report their spending.</p><p dir="ltr">The promised homeowner&rsquo;s exemption is still very much up in the air. Emanuel has promised that homes valued under $250,000 would not have to pay higher property taxes for police and fire pensions, but he&rsquo;ll need deadlocked Springfield to sign off on it. As of press time, the mayor&rsquo;s plan had only moved through one committee, and Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he won&rsquo;t sign off on an exemption without &ldquo;reforms&rdquo; for the city. State lawmakers are not set to meet again until November.</p><p dir="ltr">Emanuel and his staff have long argued that they&rsquo;re not worried about Springfield passing the exemption because the idea has never been &ldquo;controversial or contentious,&rdquo; but privately, the mayor has been working with Ald. John Arena (45) on a possible rebate program for homeowners if Springfield doesn&rsquo;t come through.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Is there a compromise about how to regulate ridesharing services like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar?</strong></span></p><p dir="ltr">Yes, but whether it actually levels the playing field for all drivers depends on who you ask.</p><p dir="ltr">The most recent proposal allows Uber, Lyft and Sidecar to pick up at the airport, like the mayor originally wanted. Aldermen recently proposed requiring a chauffeur&rsquo;s license to pick up at the airport, but that isn&rsquo;t in the current version. Instead, ride-hailing companies will have to train their drivers on new airport pick-up rules and most notably, they&rsquo;ll have to pay an additional two cents for every ride.</p><p dir="ltr">Sponsoring Ald. Arena said that money would go toward making the process of getting a chauffeur&#39;s license cheaper for cab drivers: Cabbies could have access to financial aid for drug tests and background checks, and the city fee for a license and renewal would be lowered.</p><p dir="ltr">Co-sponsor, Ald. Anthony Beale (9), said any additional revenue will go to to hiring more police officers.</p><p dir="ltr">Additionally, the mayor still wants a 15 percent cab fare increase; a $5 surcharge on ride-sharing companies for every pick-up and drop off at McCormick place, Navy Pier and both airports; and changes to per-trip fees for both cabs and ride-sharing companies.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian"> @laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 18:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-aldermen-set-take-costly-vote-rahm-emanuels-2016-budget-proposal-113529